DISRESPECT: AN UNDERMINING FACTOR TO HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

DISRESPECT: AN UNDERMINING FACTOR TO HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

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Not long, a well-known chief was being laid to rest in Sankera, Zaki-Biam, Ukum LGA, Benue State, and in the programme of events the name of a former governor of the state was omitted among those who will be addressing the mourners. For this omission, the supporters of the former governor obstructed the representative of the sitting governor from reading the governor’s address to the mourners, insisting that the former governor speaks first. And when the former governor ascended to address the mourners, supporters of the sitting governor objected. If respect were to be allowed to guide the actions of the personalities as well as their supporters, the former governor, should have been allowed to address the mourners, followed by the sitting governor. Also those who made the programme of event should have anticipated the presence of reputable politicians like the former governor(s), since the chief in question was a well-known and respected personality. If all these little things were to have been considered, love and friendliness as promoted by respect would definitely have filled the minds of all present at that event

A greater percent of people in our dear nation have lost the sense of respect for fellow countryman/woman. This is consciously and unconsciously exhibited in all fields of human endeavour in Nigeria. Worthy of mention are those of political and religious circles. The loss for respect for another has for long sustained uncivil and antagonistic attitudes in workplaces, religious houses and institutions of learning. There are lots of clamour against corruption now than ever, a very lovely step everyone must commend. In the first place, if I have respect for another person, my heart should ordinarily be moved with deep thoughts of not stealing from or inflicting pain on the other whom I claim to serve. Our individual failures of not making our own this ideology of respect, have eluded our attainment of ‘unity, peace and progress.’

The respect implied herein is “polite behaviour towards or care for somebody or something that you think is important.” From the above definition as adopted from the eighth edition of the Oxford dictionary, respect implies a polite behaviour offered to another as well as caring for another. The last part of the definition which stresses on doing so to ‘a person or thing one think is important,’ seems to be an escape route to those who are inclined to being disrespectful. This is so, because they will claim that their respect is given to persons and things they feel are important to them. In other words, those and things who do not hold any value for them cannot be respected by them.  Some Nigerians in various life endeavours fall into this category of persons, who have segmented their respect. The increase in this inhuman practice is contributing greatly to the underdevelopment the nation is witnessing. A great deal of this disrespectful attitude is constantly reflected in the religious, political and social circles of our dear nation.

In the religious circle, we see where a good number of those in various clerical leadership in this country, look down on the faithful, incline to making false prophesies and seeing them most times as just tools to satisfy their material gains in their ministry. On the part of the followers of particular religions, they disrespect God by placing their faith in the hands of their ministers, such that they cannot on their own kneel and pray to God or seek God’s face on particular challenges. Instead, they continually rush to a certain “powerful” minister, with firm belief in the minister (not God). Most followers of the Christian religion have continually disrespected the simplest of God’s Commandments, which is loving God through the love of others.

In the political circle, lot of practices that ordinarily should have existed among beasts are nurtured and carried out by most persons in politics. This beast-like practice which connotes disrespect in politics, is when one in political leadership allocates to him/herself or to a few what should go to the development of the citizens. Again, when they do little of what is expected of them for the people, they do so with arrogance. They continuously turn deaf to the cries of the people they govern, and are ever ready to abuse them for demanding to be treated well. Such was a governor who, when his people demanded for a fair fee in state public schools, said that “education is not for the poor.” I guess it is time people begin to compile the abusive statements of our politicians and use same to evaluate their leadership styles.

With regard to disrespect in the social circle, most Nigerians see each other as rivals instead of real friends. People now base their association with others on material gains. Actions such as these have relegated good human relationship to the background, giving rise to incivilities. Employers see the workforce as a tool which must be pressurised to deliver. And on daily basis ethnic affiliations and connections are preferred most times to professionalism and quality delivery. Workers who at any point in time demand fair treatment or criticize administrative polices (which would have helped the organization grow) are at the risk of being punished.

Conclusively, the extent of harm being done to us as a result of not finding interest in respecting ourselves, others and events around us, is so huge. And its steady increase is in actual terms the leading factor behind inhuman practices in our dear country; worthy of mention are corrupt practices, terror acts and oppressive governance. Correcting this should begin from human development institutions like the families, schools, and worship centres. Those in charge of impacting knowledge in these institutions, should see that the truth about the gains of respect in our society are continually re-echoed.

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Mr. Iroaganachi, Innocent Umezuruike, BA/MA Communication Studies,
Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA PH), Email: iykewensumez@gmail.com, +234(0)9054043822, wrote from Zaki-Biam, Benue State, Nigeria.

HOLINESS: AN ACTION BEYOND PRAYER AND FASTING

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HOLINESS: AN ACTION BEYOND PRAYER AND FASTING
by
Iroaganachi, Innocent Umezuruike,

In the Scriptures we are meant to understand that Jesus Christ went about doing good. The holiness shown by Jesus Christ and later by his apostles and disciples, were based on their respective ability to lessen the sufferings of others. Going through the Scriptures one would understand that not much reference was made to the prayer and fasting life of Christ, the same is also applicable to his apostles and disciples. Majority of discussions about them, have always been where they are addressing the sufferings and pains of those they come in contact with. Like Christ, feeding the multitude, dying on the cross, descent of the Holy Spirit, various accounts of healing, his changing of water into wine, etc. In all these, Christ as we were told in the Bible, was moved by compassion to carry out all these miraculous and glorious actions. Having understood Christ’ holiness as not dependent on just prayer and fasting, therefore, Christians are to see holiness as call to physical pity sustained by acts of charity.

Physical response through charity work is the core of Christian holiness. The biblical statement that calls all to be holy as the heavenly father is, brings to mind a critical stance in support of this perspective of charity as holiness. This is so, when we take a close look at the Books of the Old Testament. Never was God said to have told the prophets or revealed His holiness through prayer and fasting, as most Christians believe and behave today. Instead what we know about God’s holiness is his ability to do good and rescue his people from evil and pain. The prophet Hosea, reflecting on the cruelty of humans, especially, against the poor, the weak, the marginalized and the sick, made us to understand that God is always angered by unholy practices of the people. Attesting to this, the letter of Saint James, called upon all to work in prayer (show me your good works and I will tell you one who has faith in God).

How long I stay in the church kneeling before the tabernacle, fasting in self-denial of food and drink and all kinds of perceived prayer attitudes that always keep me apart from charitable human contacts, are not holiness and will likely never be. These practices, though good, do not determine one’s holiness, instead, they further brand and confirm how dark a heart is towards the love of God through love of another. On one hand, nobody is too poor to give something for the growth of another, while on the other hand, nobody is too rich as to claim he/she has no need of receiving from another.

Effective human civility: most persons find it too difficult to say ‘hi’ or respond to greetings. This is also seen in the length of time it takes people to appreciate those who offer them assistance. Charity in holiness is not really about how able one is in financially assisting another person, it extends to my ability to live a simple life devoid of pride, exhibiting acceptance of all; my ability to advice and take same from people; being able to appreciate the good I see in others; acknowledging good works that do not affect me directly and those that affect me indirectly. Christians should develop this attitude of reaching out to another in appreciation and love. A holy life is one that should be spent in good association with other human beings.

Human and material development: the desire to offer physical assistance for the human and material development of others is a very important aspect that reflects holiness of life. In offering a lasting assistance, there is need to consider critically the human and psychological makeup of the person to be assisted. Through this, one is able to know if really the person, is ready to put to good use the material assistance to be offered. A story was told about a saint who on his way home from night watch saw a man lying down by the road side, under the cold; he was moved by pity to remove his coat and cover the man. This man was able to see that his coat would be of better use to the one by the road side under the cold night. Thus, holiness of life in charity is against extravagant spending or show of wealth on people coming for assistance.

In charity through holiness of life, my good works to others should reflect my love of God and my faith in God. It also should reflect my ability to be in constant fellowship with him by being consistent in my good deeds. The Scriptures tell us of how hateful paying of lips service is to God. Instead, He takes delight in the good works shown by His people, for the growth of another/others. Even though praying and fasting are never bad approaches to God, constantly doing so in isolation of charitable association with other human beings, surely displeases God. If Christians were to understand holiness from this perspective, the world would have been a better place in which the presence of God, through the good works of humans is glorified.

Mr. Iroaganachi, Innocent Umezuruike, BA/MA Communication Studies, Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA PH), Email: iykewensumez@gmail.com, +234(0)9054043822, wrote from Zaki-Biam, Benue State.